For the past nine years I’ve published a new blog post on my birthday reflecting on things I’ve learned about life or experiences that have shaped me.
For example, last year I shared 43 ways I’ve learned to make life easier.
This year, as I turn 44, I thought about the role of movies in my life and in particular how specific scenes influenced or reflected my philosophy about life, work, and art.
These aren’t necessarily my favorite movies or my favorite scenes in these movies, but each one conveys an underlying message which has helped shape who I am and what I’ve done over the years.
Here they are in chronological order…
1. Animal House – Bluto’s Speech (1978)
Never let other people to decide when something’s over for you.
2. Meatballs – It Just Doesn’t Matter (1979)
No matter how important something my seem in the moment, it’s probably not that important.
3. The Empire Strikes Back – Yoda Trains Luke (1980)
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
4. The Blues Brothers – Rawhide (1980)
People won’t always like what you do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out a way to do something they will like.
5. Better Off Dead – Skiing (1985)
“All you got to do is go that way really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.” Not a bad way to live your life.
6. Hoosiers – The Big Gym (1986)
No matter how big the arena gets, the work is the same.
7. The Untouchables – The Chicago Way (1987)
As somebody who grew up in Chicago, I know what it means to be from Chicago.
8. The Princess Bride – A Battle Of Wits (1987)
Knowing how not to lose can be as valuable as knowing how to win.
9. Say Anything – Career Plans (1989)
You don’t need to figure it all out tonight.
10. Field Of Dreams – People Will Come (1989)
Sometimes you just have to believe it will work out somehow.
11. Do The Right Thing – The Mayor’s Advice (1989)
Always do the right thing.
12. Goodfellas – Fuck You, Pay Me (1990)
Sometimes you can’t accept excuses.
13. White Men Can’t Jump – Beat By The Chump (1992)
The underrated and underestimated have an advantage.
14. Jurassic Park – The Big Picture (1993)
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
15. A Bronx Tale – The Car Door Test (1993)
Little things reveal big things.
16. Rudy – I Quit (1993)
“You don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody except yourself.”
17. Casino – The Eye In The Sky (1995)
Somebody’s always watching.
18. Swingers – We Made It (1996)
Don’t lose sight of the things you have while obsessing over the things you want.
19. The People vs. Larry Flynt – The Price Of Freedom (1996)
Freedom isn’t free.
20. Private Parts – The Truth (1997)
The truth sounds different. Cuts through. Resonates. The truth is the way.
21. Rounders – Destiny Chooses Us (1998)
Find the guts to pursue the thing you know you’re meant to do.
22. Rushmore – The Secret (1998)
“Find something you love to do and then do it for the rest of your life.”
23. Office Space – I Don’t Think I’m Going To Go Anymore (1999)
Everything is a choice.
24. The Matrix – There Is No Spoon (1999)
Most rules we assume to be true don’t even exist.
25. Fight Club – The Things You Own (1999)
“The things you own, end up owning you.”
26. Any Given Sunday – One Inch At A Time (1999)
Success is built one inch at a time.
27. High Fidelity – Stevie Wonder (2000)
Be passionate about the things you’re passionate about.
28. Gladiator – Win The Crowd (2000)
Nothing’s more powerful than an audience.
29. Almost Famous – Uncool (2000)
“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”
30. Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back – The Internet (2001)
The Internet will have “thoughts” about everything you do. Take them with a grain of salt.
31. Ali – Opening Sequence (2001)
Champions are born from work put in when nobody else is around.
32. 8 Mile – Final Battle (2002)
Your greatest weaknesses can become your greatest strengths.
33. Lost In Translation – Does It Get Easier? (2003)
“The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”
34. Miracle – You Were Born For This (2004)
“Great moments are born from great opportunity.”
35. Batman Begins – The Will To Act (2005)
It’s not who we are, it’s what we do that defines us.
36. Hustle And Flow – It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp (2005)
We’re capable of more than we realize.
37. Elizabethtown – True Greatness (2005)
You failed. So what?
38. The Social Network – The Club Scene (2010)
Think bigger. Act now.
39. Moneyball – Science vs. Scouts (2011)
Play your own game.
40. Chef – I Love It (2014)
When you love what you do, you care about what you do. And when you care about what you do, you give yourself the chance to become great at what you do.
41. Straight Outta Compton – Detroit Concert (2015)
Don’t let anybody tell you what you can or can’t say.
42. Steve Jobs – Artists Lead (2015)
“Artists lead and hacks ask for a show of hands.”
43. La La Land – Ending Sequence (2016)
Life can go a lot of different ways and one’s not necessarily better than another.
44. The Founder – Real Estate (2016)
You won’t succeed in business until you understand the business you’re in.